Sunday, April 20, 2014
A book reading at the
Most who attended the November 21st discussion felt they were discouraged from achieving education beyond high school. Doris Bonneau, a Franco-American and teacher from
A summary of Myall’s report is posted on line at http://usm.maine.edu/franco/state-maine-task-force-franco-americans.
A book discussion sponsored by LAC-USM Franco-American Collection, brought attention to the education issue through the events told by Robert Verreault, a Lewiston businessman, in his memoir “Business Boy to Business Man: A Memoir” written with author Denis Ledoux.
Unfortunately, Verreault died on
Cecile Verreautl with Denis Ledoux at LAC USM on November 21st
Verreault was the owner of
In spite of a disastrous setback in 1972, when a destructive fire ruined his life’s work, he overcame this adversity with optimistic determination. As a matter of fact, in 1975, he received the “Small Business of the Year”, recognition from the Chamber of Commerce.
Verreault’s life mirrors the vision of upward mobility dreamed about by thousands of American immigrants, including the Franco-Americans who grew up in
Although Verreault achieved his vision of one day having enough money to own his own automobile and more, his path toward prosperity didn’t include the ambition to achieve educational goals beyond primary parochial schooling. He attended
He recalls the day in 1937, when he knew he wouldn’t go back to school.
“The day I started work (as a dish washer), the graduating eighth graders from
Nevertheless, Verreault’s life experiences were consistent with those shared by thousands of Franco-Americans of his generation. As a matter of fact, the Legislative Task Force Report recognized this generational lag in Franco-American educational goals. It raises the rhetorical question about how much more influential Franco-Americans could be if they had been encouraged to achieve higher education.
Reading the wonderful memories in “Business Boy to Business Man” also leads to the assumption of how much more successful of a businessman Verreault might have been, if he had advanced his education.
Included in Verreault’s memories are his recollections of historic events in
Verreault wrote his memoir with Denis Ledoux, a writer who lives in
Robert Verreault’s obituary is posted at http://www.obitsforlife.com/obituary/410275/Verreault-Robert.php
Contact Ledoux for information about Verreault’s memoir: phone: 207-353-5454.Tweet
Juliana L’Heureux is a freelance writer whose articles about Maine’s Franco-American history and culture have appeared in Portland newspapers for 25 years. She serves on the Maine Franco-American Leadership Council.
Juliana and her husband Richard live in Topsham ME. Feel free to contact her at Juliana@mainewriter.com.